Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Review: Dove Arising

Title: Dove Arising
Author: Karen Bao
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: February 24, 2015

Living in a colony on the moon, Phaet knows her path- keep working in the greenhouse, do well in school, eventually get a job in biochemistry. She'll stay as quiet as she's been since her father's death and let her best friend keep filling in the blanks.

Then her mother is arrested, and, in order to keep her family safe, Phaet must join the militia. The plan is to rank high and make enough to fund her mother's release and keep her family fed and safe, but things rapidly start to spin out of control. 

Out of Ten: 5/10

Review at a Glance: A really interesting setting, but suffered from poorly fleshed out characters and a dependence on tired tropes.

Review: Okay. Here's the thing. I wanted to like this one, but I from the start was concerned that I wouldn't. I just wanted to say that from the start because I might have had a weird bias going in or something. Anyway, onto the review. I think I mostly didn't pick this up earlier because I'm a terrible cover-judge, but also because so much of the plot sounded like it was more of the same. I wish that hadn't held true, but it kind of did.

This book did prompt me to randomly start researching moonquakes, which I hadn't realised were a thing because conventional wisdom when I went through my childhood "learning about the moon phase" (what, people don't have those?) was that the moon was tectonically dead. (That is to say, has zero tectonic activity.) Apparently, like most conventional wisdom, this isn't totally true. For one thing the moon has thermal quakes whenever the sun warms it's surface. For another it also just randomly has quakes measuring 5.5 or higher (on the Richter scale, which isn't really used anymore). Here's details on moonquakes, if anyone's curious. Also apparently the moon is simultaneously shrinking and being pulled apart, so that's fun.

Unfortunately the research this book prompted me to do on lunar geology was the most interesting part of this book for me. It just didn't grab me. Part of it was how much there was in terms of telling rather than showing. It made the story lag. The story also wound up feeling kind of forced- the characters felt like they had abilities or skills specifically to move the story along, rather than as an organic part of their personalities and histories. Despite the fact that they were ostensibly different, they all had a very similar feeling, which, I think, came from how forced their construction felt.

Other than being set on the moon, this felt kind of like just any other dystopia- I don't think it's really the book's fault that I've experienced a lot of that particular kind of dystopia, but the writing and characters weren't really strong enough to carry a story with a plot as formulaic as this one was. In the end I kind of felt like I was dragging myself through the story.

In all, I really wish I'd like this book better, but it just didn't pan out for me. The plot felt too formula and the characters just didn't pull the story along. I don't think I'll be continuing the series, especially with the direction that I see the story going.


  1. Damn, sucks this was a disappointment. The concept is really interesting, and the bookish world could always do with some more good sci fi. It's hard to really love a book when it doesn't feel fleshed out though :(

    1. I'm pretty much always on the search for good sci-fi... it's just a thing I do now. I do think it's probably a very challenging genre to write (not that they all probably aren't but...) with some unique challenges... you have to be able to balance technical and fantastical, and still present it in a clean, readable way. The downside is that sometimes it's hard to find books that hit that balance. The upside is that when you do find a fantastic sci-fi, it's really exciting!

  2. Im so sad to know that the book didn't had the page turning factor to it but it doesn't sound that bad either! :)

    1. Yeah, it wasn't so much that it was a terrible book as that it just didn't have what I personally look for, and that was frustrating for me this time around because it was compounded with writing and story styles that didn't really work for me.

      If this one sounds like something you'd like, it isn't a book that I would necessarily advise people against picking up, it just didn't work for me personally!

  3. The premise does sound incredibly interesting and i'm sorry it was a disappointment! I like that it's set on the Moon! and wow the thing about the moonquakes is a super interesting fact I've learnt today! Thanks Kelly :) Great review <3

    1. I mean, if I got nothing else out of this book, I at least got the moonquakes, right? Downside: frustration. Upside: moonquakes.